The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 12

    Falls

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 9

    Groped

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 4

    Burns

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse